“I thought we came a long way this year in 162 games,” he adds later, outside his office. “I thought a lot of guys made a lot of good adjustments. I don’t use that as a crutch — inexperience. I don’t buy any of that.”
“We lost a couple ballgames in a five-game series. Shoot, we were two runs down, two strikes, two outs and we came back to win the game.”
“When was that?” you ask, pretty much knowing the answer.
“’86 World Series,” Davey says.
Besides runs and capable starting pitching, you know what the Nats need more of in this series if they’re going to put Gio Gonzalez on the mound for Game 5?
They need more Davey. They need more of the reassuring, we-got-this-game Midas touch that has made a clubhouse with but four playoff veterans believe in something much bigger than a first-round-and-out postseason.
They need that guy’s confidence and ability to be unfazed by even the grandest moments. They need the hellion demeanor of a manager who green-lighted a teenager to go for broke. Insert a rookie pinch-hitter in the biggest spot imaginable. They need the attitude of a lifer who doesn’t tense up in October; no, the man lives for it.
“Today was the perfect example,” Mark DeRosa said of Johnson after the Cardinals took Game 3 by force. “He didn’t say anything. He knew exactly how to handle what happened. There was a calmness about him.”
Added Jayson Werth: “Davey is a rock. He may have never been stunned before. He’s the same guy no matter what.”
On a day Washington found out what a game of extremities postseason baseball can be, Davey’s ability to stay between the lines was sorely needed.
At 1 p.m., this town was agog with noise and belief, enjoying a montage of history on the Jumbotron, nostalgic moments from reveling in playoff baseball for the first time in 64 years and its first Major League playoff game in almost 80 years.
By 4 p.m., the sky was falling. The Nats had marooned 11 runners, Edwin Jackson got rocked early and they were on their way to an unsightly loss against the defending world champions, who are coming together beautifully again at the right time.
It’s over, right? The Cardinals showed the Nationals what playoff intensity and production is all about. Lesson learned. See you in February.
No. That’s conventional, downtrodden-fan wisdom, common among the people who left the game en masse at the end of the seventh inning.
DaveyWorld? “We got two games at home.”
If his club can gut out a win with Ross Detwiler in Game 4 and find a modicum of confidence at the plate, life is good. His Cy Young Award candidate takes the mound for a closeout game on Friday, and everyone likes Gio in his matchup that night.